U.S. Ambassador Hails Partnership with St. Kitts and Nevis

Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 27, 2013 (SKNIS): United States Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean States His Excellency Larry Palmer has saluted St. Kitts and Nevis for being an excellent partner in promoting issues related to democracy, global security and gender equality.

Ambassador Palmer made the comments on Tuesday during a courtesy visit to the new Minister of Foreign Affairs Honourable Patrice Nisbett. The senior diplomat reaffirmed his country’s support to the various bilateral initiatives vital to the continued development and security of the region and St. Kitts and Nevis in particular. This includes the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) which brings together members of the Caribbean Community and Dominican Republic to jointly collaborate on regional security with the United States as a partner.

His Excellency Palmer noted that Minister Nisbett’s previous appointment as Attorney General made him well suited to fill this new role as the Head of Foreign Affairs as the two countries move forward in tackling security concerns. He also highlighted an area of focus where much work has been done locally.

As you know one of the areas that was a priority for Secretary [of State Hillary] Clinton and will continue to be a priority for Secretary [John] Kerry and the President [Barack Obama] is gender-based violence and you guys have been a stalwart partner in that,” the Ambassador said. “I think since I [last] talked to you we’ve had a number of prosecutions along those lines and those are very difficult to get because of the nature of the crime and so we are very, very pleased with that.”

In response, Minister Nisbett thanked the government and people of the United States for the strong support in various areas and indicated that St. Kitts and Nevis will continue to fulfil its responsibility as a member of the international community. This includes reducing gender-based violence.

We generally seek to strengthen our legal framework in order to ensure that if there are instances it can be generally addressed under the law,” the government minister stressed. “What is very important and where you have given us the necessary assistance is in terms of the institutional strengthening of our agencies which are responsible for investigating and prosecuting offenses of such a nature.

“… generally sometimes we are much more focussed on law enforcement rather than strengthening the administration of justice which has to go hand in hand with law enforcement in order to effectively combat criminality and crime in our country.”

The meeting ended with a renewed commitment for further collaboration in new areas including prison reform and alternative sentencing options.

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